Music Review: End the year with a bang!

Mastodon - Blood Mountain
(9.8 of 10)

was probably the best metal album I've heard in years. It was pure genius and ambitious. Its success marked Mastodon as one of the best metal bands to come out this decade. But the band didn't simply stopped with Leviathan. In their latest and third effort, Blood Mountain, as evidence and album title would suggest, they continued to push their music foward and let it grow even larger than Leviathan.

Listening to the album is quite a fantastic musical journey gone awry. The first track, "The Wolf is Loose", is a perfect introduction, with its ear-pounding drumworks, that will immediately kickstart your adrenaline pumps and grant you the energy you need throughout the entire adventure. Brann Dailor's sterling and adernaline pumping beats continues on as the chase escalates to the second track, "Crystal Skull". The chase mellows down abruptly, but the musical adventure does not, as you stumble upon the complex cacophonies of metal and melodic riffs of the "Sleeping Giant","Bladecatcher", and the "Colony of Birdmen". The album's gut-wrenching single, "Capillarian Crest", clearly summarizes the music in the entire album and showcases the ingenuity of the band's riff and drum craft.

Overall, Blood Mountain is the most brillant rock album released this year, and a new metal classic. If Mastodon continues this trend, pushing themselves and making huge leaps that are enough for them to handle, I think they'll turn from being a great metal band to icons of metal music that defined this decade. If you don't have a copy of Blood Mountain yet, do yourself a favor and get one -by legal means, of course.

Isis - In the Absence of Truth
(9.3 of 10)

In the Absence of Truth
is my introduction to Isis, and all I can say about this progressive metal album is that it's heavy and beautiful. The metallic weight of this Isis' music does not come quickly, aggressively, and hard like a punch other bands usually delivers. No, the heaviness is like a concrete block that drags you down to the bottom of the ocean while you listen to the call of whales. Tracks like "Wrists of Kings" and "Garden of Light" baits you with melodic openings, weaved with intricate guitar riffs, and then slowly crushes you with continual pressure and low-growling vocals. If you're looking for a metal album, the kind that puts you to sleep but gives you a hell of a nightmare, In the Absence of Truth is one of the best this year.

The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
(9.0 of 10)

If I can describe the sound of The Blood Brothers' Young Machetes I'd say it's like an At The Drive-In album with mad ferocity and sharp claws. Though that comparison does not even come close, however, except that the two vocalists sounds like a starved-crazy Cedric Bixler-Zabala. But the comparison aside, Young Machetes is really a brillantly mad and intense screamo album with dance rock fillings. "We Ride Skeletal Lightning", an insane sounding song with descending bassline that you can groove to, is my favorite track here. "Huge Gold AK-47" is another excellent track in the album that showcases another sterling bassline. If you crave for something feral and crazy, then Young Machetes is the answer to that.

Brand New - The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me
(8.7 of 10)

I was never a fan of Brand New before. Although their Deja Entendu in 2003 made me turn. This time, however, their third album, The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me, definitely made me listen. The band has matured this time, took a giant leap, and eschewed most of their emo trappings. Most of the tracks in this album starts out soft with hushed guitars before it comes alive to full melody. Two tracks here really standout"Jesus", a somber song with sonic riffs and aching vocals, and "Limousine", a 7-minute epic that I didn't really expect from the band.
I don't know the reasons why Brand New forged a brand new sound for themselves. Frankly, I don't care because the result was an undeniably excellent album.